1965 flooded Madison St-from calisphere.org

Petaluma’s historic struggle with rising tides and encroaching flood waters​

February 27, 2019 Stony Point Rd, Petaluma
December 2014, Lindberg Lane and Lakeville Street in Petaluma

Petaluma Flooding

  • Annual rains bring with them pockets of flooding in and around Petaluma. 
  • Larger storms are occurring more frequently and their impact is felt across the County.
  • The Payran neighborhood, where Sid Commons is to be built, has flooded multiple times already. Several homes in the neighborhood still bear scars from the 1982 flood; many families never recovered from the financial impact
  • Any development in that area of the river is guaranteed to flood.

Flooding to increase with Sid Commons

  • This project’s EIR was inadequate in that it utilized expired and obsolete data. A critical example: No wetlands assessment or field visit were conducted.
  • This means that data from current climate change and hydrology impact models are not considered in this proposal.
  • For example, the additional water pressure that would result in widening the River on the flood dam was never analyzed.
  • The wetlands act as the “lungs” for the river and if they are paved over, as the project proposes, the rising tidal waters will have no place to go but up onto the streets and into homes and businesses.
  • All of this is slated for Petaluma’s flood-hazard zone; a location where the US Army Corps of Engineers warned never to build homes or the Payran flood wall and dam protections would be compromised, substantially increasing flood risk for both Midtown and Downtown Petaluma.

Long Term Concerns

  • The City of Petaluma has no plan to address the flooding impact to its residents and structures nor will it shoulder the cost of flood insurance for areas which never were required to have it previously. 

  • ​Taxpayers will have to finance the recovery from the impact of this development not the EIR consultants or the developers.

  • The River will be gutted, graded, and backfilled destroying riparian habitat and displacing wildlife, including Steelhead trout and Chinook salmon.

  • Destruction of the Petaluma river’s wetlands, which Sonoma County is spending millions of dollars to restore just a short distance downstream.

  • The City Council’s approval of the Sid Commons development removed protections of Petaluma’s historical agricultural land, permitted the destruction of century-old heritage oak trees, and disregarded impacts to neighborhood traffic safety.

  • You cannot undo development once you have destroyed virgin land.